ERIS Conference 2015 in Landshut (Germany)

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On 12th and 13th October 2015, the European Institute for Social Work (ERIS) and the Institute for Social Change and Cohesion Research (IKON) from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences Landshut organized a conference in Landshut on the subject:

"The role of social work in a shifting world - social change and cohesion as a challenge and mandate of professional social work"

Over 70 participants from more than 10 countries came to Landshut to discuss the issue. Discussions were wide-ranging, with lectures and around 15 workshops.

In the conceptual design of the conference, the organizers took as a starting point the fact that processes of change in European countries have accelerated with regard to knowledge and service societies.

This notion was further elaborated in the conference invitation: "The current socio-economic change is a challenge for all modern societies. Phenomena like the ageing of society, globalization, migratory movements and the evolution from an industrial society to a service and knowledge society have major impacts on nearly all societal fields. Social Work - as a profession and a discipline which deals with people and social cohesion within these societies - is thus particularly affected by these changes. It is challenged by the reform of welfare state principles and the process of economization, as well as by growing inequality and exclusion. This means that the framework conditions for social work are changing as a result of these developments, and so are the client base and the fields in which social work operates."

In view of this, the topics discussed at the conference included questions such as:

  • What could be the role of social work in a shifting world like this?
  • How and where do the related developments of exclusion/marginalization arise, and how should social work react to these developments?
  • How would it be possible to succeed in establishing social cohesion despite these developments?
  • In what way do these developments affect social work in terms of its own self-concept as a profession?
  • What societal processes of change related to migration can be identified, and what are their implications for social cohesion?
  • What socio-economic transformation processes can be identified and what are their implications for welfare state models, particularly with regard to the development of poverty and inequality processes?
  • How are altered gender patterns and demographic change manifested, and what issues emerge for social work in this connection?
  • Are there any altered demands on qualifications and implications of socio-economic changes for children and young people, and what strategies does social work have at its disposal in this respect?

The results and papers from this conference will be released in publications by the European Institute for Social Work (ERIS) and the Institute for Social Change and Cohesion Research (IKON) in the near future.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Fedke

Updated: 18. 11. 2022